Tinkoff-Saxo’s team captain Alberto Contador took over the leader’s jersey in Vuelta a Andalucía Ruta Ciclista del Sol after finishing 4th on the 8.2km technical time trial. Tinkoff-Saxo concludes the second split stage of day 1 with three riders in the top ten of the general classification.
After receiving the leader’s jersey, Alberto Contador was especially pleased with the fact that the result shows his shape is progressing.
“I’m happy because this has been a good day overall, not as much for the result I achieved, which is always welcome, but mainly for the feeling I had regarding my form. Leading the GC is, obviously, a good start, but it isn’t significant. The differences between the riders are minute and we still have many kilometers ahead of us”, states Alberto Contador and adds:
“This morning, I fortunately escaped from the crash. It was a very dangerous situation and I was very lucky. I was sitting in sixth position inside the group and just four riders separated me from the crash. It is the first time I take part in the Vuelta a Andalucia and I am delighted to be here. However, we still have four stages left and tomorrow is another day”.
A good start to the race
The first day of racing featured two legs – a 121km undulating stage and a short technical time trial of 8.2km. Steven de Jongh, leading sport director at the race, was pleased with the overall result after the first day of racing.
“I consider this a good start of the Ruta del Sol. Alberto did a good time trial, so did Paulinho, Valgren and Basso. They worked hard during the morning stage, so it’s nice to see that they were able to keep up the intensity. We just finished a big block of training in the days leading up to the race and it’s good to see that it’s paying off”, says Steven de Jongh after the time trial.
The day began with a 121km stage to Hinojos, where Dutchman Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Soudal) emerged victorious from a crash-stained finale after a late attack. Steven de Jongh tells that Tinkoff-Saxo stayed in the front to protect the team captain.
“Luckily we weren’t affected by the big crash. But we also made an effort to stay at the front in order to protect Alberto and keep him out of trouble. All in all, I’m happy with how the guys worked together this morning”.
Just a few hours later, after a short respite, the riders were once again in action in search of success on the short, city-circuit time trial in Coria del Río. Here, Alberto Contador finished as the 4th fastest on the 8,2km route 6 seconds behind stage winner Javier Moreno (Movistar Team). Contador moves into the lead and is accompanied in the top of the GC by Ivan Basso in 7th and Michael Valgren in 10th place.
“We have a good position now. Of course it’s better to be in the lead than chasing the lead. However, we’re not going to change our strategy. We’re going to protect Alberto and focus on the queen stage on day three to Alto de Hazallanas”, concludes Steven de Jongh.